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In a decision that could presage results of the antitrust suit filed by Wal-Mart and other retailers against Visa and MasterCard, a California judge has ruled that the two credit card companies have to pay back $500 million in fees and surcharges collected by card-issuing banks from people who used their cards outside the US.

At issue was the disclosure -- or lack of disclosure -- of rates used for currency conversion.

While this case was not an antitrust case, The New York Times reports that at least one plaintiff attorney believes that "a lot of the factual predicates are the same.” Another attorney suggested “there is a continuing practice by Visa and MasterCard of failing to disclose the real costs of transactions they impose on consumers and merchants.”
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